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Miljonpris to have saved thousands of cancer patients ' lives

Dennis Slamon, a doctor and professor at the University of California in the united states, discovered in the mid-80s that some women with breast cancer appeare

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Miljonpris to have saved thousands of cancer patients ' lives

Dennis Slamon, a doctor and professor at the University of California in the united states, discovered in the mid-80s that some women with breast cancer appeared to have a more aggressive form, and also a worse prognosis than others. He suspected that these women's cancer cells had more of the protein HER2, which is found earlier.

the First was not the pharmaceutical industry particularly interested in, but Dennis Slamon finally managed to show that an antibody that bound to the protein HER2 prevented the growth and thus also the spread of the cancer.

trastuzumab in the united states. Today it is one of standardbehandlingarna for women with HER2-positive breast cancer, which is around 15-20 percent of all breast cancer cases.

Dennis Slamons research has extended the lives of thousands of women around the world. Photo: Milo Mitchell

the Treatment has dramatically changed the women's prognosis, particularly in combination with cytostatic drugs, called chemotherapeutic drugs. The fight to help these women have also inspired the movie Living Proof, with Harry Connick jr. in the role of Dennis Slamon.

Now Dennis Slamon 2019 years Sjöbergpris together with Brian Druker, a physician and professor at Oregon Health & Science University in the united states. They will share the prize sum is one million dollars, about nine million.

"They have continued to build on the fundamental discoveries and transformed them into revolutionary clinical treatment that has prolonged and saved the lives of thousands of cancer patients worldwide," says Rune Toftgård, professor at Karolinska institutet and the secretary of the committee for Sjöbergpriset.

Brian Drukers research has led to patients with a particular form of leukaemia live much longer. Photo: Oregon Health & Science University

the drug, imatinib, for chronic myeloid leukemia, a form of blood cancer that affects less than 100 people each year in Sweden. Imatinib blocks an enzyme that get the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow divide uncontrollably.

" Previously, the patients with chronic myeloid leukemia not very long survival. Today the life expectancy is closest to normal. It is a complete revolution in the treatment of these patients, " says Rune Toftgård.

Dennis Slamons and Brian Drukers research has not only led to two new drugs, but also to a new way to treat cancer.

– Previously, they had a wide approach by so-called chemotherapy prevents cell growth of cancer cells, but also normal cells. The two new drugs provided a new principle, which target the treatment specifically to a change in the genetic material found only in the cancer cells. When the normal cells are not affected will often the side effects less. It has also led to that the pharmaceutical industry has become interested in developing a new drug that only works with a smaller group of patients, " says Rune Toftgård.

still active and trying to identify new targets on cancer cells that could lead to new treatments.

Sjöbergpriset awarded at the Royal Swedish academy of sciences annual annual meeting.

Bengt Sjöberg passed away from lung cancer. He donated two billion to cancer research. Photo: Peter Claesson

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